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The Marcellus Shale, Explained

Background

Marcellus Shale is a sedimentary rock buried thousands of feet beneath the earth’s surface. It stretches from upstate New York south through Pennsylvania to West Virginia and west to parts of Ohio. Named after a town in upstate New York, the rock itself is millions of years old, formed from mud and organic material. The natural gas created over millions of years as a byproduct of decomposition is trapped in tiny spaces and fissures within the rock. The Marcellus Shale is just one of many shale formations across the world. When industry speaks of tapping shale gas, it often refers to it as a “shale play.” The Marcellus is one of the first shale plays to be tapped, after the Barnett Shale formation in Texas.

Latest Posts

Landowners brace for start of tree-felling by Constitution Pipeline builders

Landowners in Susquehanna County prepared for a last-minute confrontation with tree-felling crews who were expected to begin clearing forest on Friday to make way for the planned Constitution Pipeline to take natural gas from Pennsylvania’s Marcellus Shale into New York State. Opponents of the tree-clearing plan said three landowners in New Milford Township have not [...]

Low gas price cuts impact-fee revenue for Pa. counties and municipalities

Pennsylvania’s local authorities will lose millions of dollars in fees from the natural gas industry this year because of lower gas prices in 2015. The Public Utility Commission announced on Jan. 30 that mostly because of the sharp fall in gas prices, it would be reducing the amounts paid to municipalities and counties from impact [...]

Shale gas boosts Delaware River port traffic

Ship traffic up and down the Delaware River is bouncing back after a slump that began in 2008 due to the Great Recession. In addition to the improved economy, a new export product has driven much of that growth — natural gas liquids from the Marcellus Shale. Dennis Rochford leads the Maritime Exchange, which acts [...]

Science panel faults EPA fracking probe for excluding baseline water testing

The Environmental Protection Agency’s landmark investigation into the impact of fracking on drinking water lacked baseline testing that would have made its results more illuminating, according to a scientific panel that assessed it, and independent analysts. The Hydraulic Fracturing Research Advisory Panel, a unit of the EPA’s Science Advisory Board (SAB), published its evaluation of [...]

Gas breathes new life into coal-fired power plant

At UGI’s Hunlock Creek Energy Center near Wilkes-Barre, an old coal-fired power plant has transitioned to natural gas. It’s part of a broader trend going on across the United States, as gas begins to close in on coal as the nation’s main source of electric power. Take a look inside the plant:

Marcellus output flat amid falling prices, slack demand, pipeline shortage

Natural gas production from Pennsylvania’s Marcellus and Utica shales showed little change in 2015 as energy companies deferred expansion plans amid falling prices, sluggish demand growth, and a continuing shortage of pipelines to take the state’s abundant gas to market. Data from the state’s Department of Environmental Protection show unconventional gas production from the two [...]

Report revives debate over risks of radiation from drilling waste

Concern over whether oil and gas drilling waste emits radiation at unhealthy levels in Pennsylvania has resurfaced with the publication of a report alleging the Department of Environmental Protection ignored hazardous radioactivity from the industry when it issued its own study on the issue almost a year ago. The environmental group Delaware Riverkeeper Network said [...]

Despite drilling slowdown, rents still high in fracking boomtowns

The nation’s fracking boom has brought new jobs and wealth to many rural communities. But the abrupt highs and lows of the oil and gas industry can sometimes feel like whiplash for small cities and towns. When it comes to housing, some people have been left out in the cold as drillers moved in and pushed up [...]

Pennsylvania’s Marcellus Shale drives boost in nation’s proven gas reserves

Nationwide, the amount of gas that producers can afford to get out of the ground, broke records in 2014, topping 388 trillion cubic feet, according to a new report from the Energy Information Administration. A big chunk of these proven natural gas reserves came from Pennsylvania’s operators, who added 10.4 trillion cubic feet of gas to [...]

Tune in to see Pennsylvania’s changing spaces

Pennsylvania’s rich natural resources and attractive river system have made it a hub of industry since its founding in the 1600′s. These industries’ boom-and-bust cycles spurred rapid growth in cities, then just as quickly left those spaces behind. The Keystone Crossroads: Changing Spaces TV special explores communities reinventing themselves, using historic legacies or tapping new resources to [...]

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